[B-Greek] Word order, prominence, and Acts 28:31

R Yochanan Bitan Buth ybitan at mscc.huji.ac.il
Sat Jul 2 11:20:30 EDT 2005


Kline egrapsen:

>ACTS 28:30 ... KAI APEDECETO PANTAS TOUS EISPOREUOMENOUS PROS AUTON,


31 KHRUSSWN THN BASILEIAN TOU QEOU KAI DIDASKWN TA PERI TOU KURIOU
IHSOU

CRISTOU META PASHS PARRHSIAS AKWLUTWS.

 

Prepositional phrases like META ktl. are outside of the clausal 'core'
and

"naturally" have lower prominence than elements of the core.>

 

RB:

I am not sure that elements outside a core have naturally lower
salience. This could get tricky with many a nuanced example. Sometimes
the adding of an optional element carries natural salience. Not
grammatical Focus, but unmarked salient information whose explicit
mention is its natural markedness.

 

To this should be added another observation: The main verb APEDEXETO
'was receiving' precedes the participles KHRUSSWN and DIDASKWN. 

Main verbs naturally have more prominence, however, this is mitigated
here by some factors:

1. the main verb is imperfect (imperfect is often used as
backgrounding, scene/speech intro/setting, or scene fadeout, vis-a-vis
the story elements in aorist, (or non-paragraph initial historical
present).  

2. the participles here provide material that can be called salient.

3. the participles follow the verb

 

Thus, the 'adverbial' participles are not Focus structures. That is,
they are not grammatically signalled as Focal, nor are they pre-posed
as backgrounding/contextualizing/topical clauses. Semantically they
provide salient information and can be read as the UNMARKED highpoint
of the overall sentence. 

 

Back to the META clause, one could argue that it, too, has an unmarked
prominence by its being mentioned and by its explaining the main verb
'receiving'. The whole complex provides a 'fadeout' to the book,
pointing out not only what Paul was doing, but that he was unhindered
in doing it.

 

ERRWSQE

Randall Buth

 

Randall Buth, PhD

Director, Biblical Language Center

www.biblicalulpan.org

and Director, Biblical Studies in Israel

Hebrew University, Rothberg International School

ybitan at mscc.huji.ac.il

 




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